The now legendary Dialectics of Liberation congress, held in London in 1967, was a unique expression of the politics of dissent. Existential psychiatrists, Marxist intellectuals, anarchists, and political leaders met to discuss key social issues. Edited by David Cooper, The Dialectics of Liberation compiles interventions from congress contributors Stokely Carmichael, Herbert Marcuse, R. D. Laing, Paul Sweezy, and others, to explore the roots of social violence.
Against a backdrop of rising student frustration, racism, class inequality, and environmental degradation—a setting familiar to readers today—the conference aimed to create genuine revolutionary momentum by fusing ideology and action on the levels of the individual and of mass society. The Dialectics of Liberation captures the rise of a forceful style of political activity that came to characterize the following years.
What is the relationship between psychoanalysis and Marxism in the era of late capitalism? Explore the convergences by diving deeper into the work of Freud, Lacan and others analyzing their ideas and making connections between these two master discourses.
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R.D. Laing and Franco Basaglia, the subject of John Foot’s The Man Who Closed the Asylums, were contemporaries in close dialogue in the critical psychiatry movement that sought to revolutionise the field of psychiatry. They emphasized examining the structural bases to mental illness through a critique of capitalism and were aligned with the radical social movements that coalesced in 1968.
In his own review of Foot’s book, Laing’s son Adrian also observes this confluence of agendas, and praises Foot’s efforts to disassemble the ‘lazy narratives’ that obscure our understanding of Basaglia.